Aug

30

VNHere's a composite of a typical season in a horse trader's life that will enable you to understand such things as why the market is bad when it looks good, why the value stocks are good when everyone wants the tech stocks, the importance of liquidity, the prevalence of deception, and the back and forth in the market during the day and year.

Ben's usual technique when entering a new area like Mississippi is to sit at the long table in the hotel and flatter the locals "Of course I didn't hesitate to let them in on the fact that I was from Texas, and I didn't know too much about the farming business, that I'd made my living on a horse about all of my life. But I told them I had a high regard for the people that tilled the soil and fed the world and provided fiber that made the clothes, and I knew that this type of citizen was the salt of the earth. I said something about what a fertile land the Mississippi Valley was and how much of the rest of the world Miss could feed and clothe. I also dropped in that I knew the Miss Valley was stocked with some of the finest old Southern people in the nation because that wasn't going to hurt my case any either." How many times one is cajoled into some deal where it starts out that they flatter you to death thereby lowering your guard. "Our trader is thrilled at the opportunity to trade with you but begs that you go easy on him".

But this time, hoping to meet a better heeled citizen that could buy 60 mules that he couldn't sell for a dime worth 30 bucks a head, Ben Green stays at a fancy hotel where there are fewer mule men to sell at a proper price when he wishes to sell his mule. "I was just peeping out from under the brim of my Stetson and had my boot crossed over my knee so that everybody could for sure tell I was from way out West". The anxious seller always pretends that he's short on brains and the farthest thing from his mind is selling.

He sees a mark "He walked up in the lobby and stood looking into the dining room and I could tell for sure he was off his home range" (The best cons come spontaneously when the other side isn't expecting it.)

"I got up and moseyed up close to him to get acquainted because I knew I looked country enough that he would ask me whatever it was that he was trying to find out " . It might be that he wanted to buy some mules and the last thing that Ben wants him to know is that he might sell. (The salesman with tremendous urgency to unload bonds or stock is in conference, please call back later.)

Russ Sears applies the lesson:

The latest Investment Outlook from PIMCO's Mr. Gross paints a dire picture for Mortgage Backed Securities, perhaps because he is starting a new fund that plans to buy some of them mules.


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3 Comments so far

  1. Hans Martin Aannestad on August 31, 2008 3:32 pm

    Any thoughts on "The Two-Year Effect" by Graham Bornholt?

     [Ed.: Let us say it does not come as a complete surprise, the strong negative correlation between the current year return and the return two years back is mentioned in Practical Speculation on pages 210-211.  See in particular table 9.2 Page 211]. 

  2. George Parkanyi on August 31, 2008 8:21 pm

    Nice name-tag, Victor. Where can I get one? — and do they come in different names? To stay on topic, I tried my hand at selling mules once, but you get attached to the darned things. In the end I found it just too emotially stressful having to kiss my ass good-bye all the time. Cheers, George

  3. Bob Johnson on September 1, 2008 9:56 am

    How do we reconcile the opposing 2008 market returns predicted by the “two-year correlations of returns” of -25% correlation to the up-year of 2006 (per Practical Speculation) and the January 4, 2008, Fed Model update of +20.3% returns (per this site)? Is something identifiable causing the failure of one of these predictive indicators?

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